Read: Job Chapter Eleven
"That He would show you the secrets of wisdom!
For they would double your prudence,
know therefore that God exacts from you
less than your iniquity deserves."
Job's friends came to him in the hour of his greatest need. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had come with good intentions to comfort their friend. "For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him" (Job 2:11). Yet, somewhere between what they saw with their eyes from afar and what they heard with their ears after a week of sitting in the dump with their suffering friend, the lines of communication got disturbingly crossed. They traveled a great distance to bring Job a cup of comfort to quench the deep thirst of his aching heart, but after a few days of personal discomfort they had drawn their own false conclusions of his pitiful condition and began to spew out a continuous flow of criticism and condemnation instead. "Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be vindicated? Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you?" (Job 11:2, 3). Zophar joined Bildad's bandwagon, telling Job that he was full of hot air (8:2); and he also fell into the same trap as the other two friends had in focusing on the words from Job's mouth rather than the agony pouring out of his heart. The distance between Job and his friends was growing further apart by the minute, even though they sat only inches apart verbally assaulting him with false accusations that he was the one living far from God. "Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven - what can you do? Deeper than Sheol - what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea?" (Job 11:7-9). What kind of friend is it who finds any sort of satisfaction in putting down another friend who has already sunk into the depths of human tragedy and suffering? Zophar's heartless lectures were wrongly aimed at the man we were introduced to as "blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil...this man was the greatest of all the people of the East" (Job 1:1, 3b). Tragically, that is the mistake Christians often make when we throw a blanketed generalization over everyone who has fallen on hard times. Zophar thought he had something to teach Job about God, but it was Job's knowledge of God and faith in Him that was enabling him to withstand their abuses and endure the overwhelming tragedy that had fallen on his life. Zophar and the others were the ones who were spiritually blind; they couldn't see that God was using Job's situation to teach them something more about the Sovereign Lord that they didn't know. Sadly, they thought it was Job who needed to repent and confess his sins. "If you would prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands toward Him; if iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, and would not let wickedness dwell in your tents...your life would be brighter than noonday..and you would be secure, because their is hope" (Job 11:13-14, 17a, 18a). May we guard against making such awful errors in judgment and from jumping on the bandwagon with others in their false assumptions as they fail to consider and take in all the facts. We see this running rampant in the streets today, as innocent people are getting run over and shut down by those who want to intimidate and silence anyone who has an opposing opinion. This is something that should not be happening in the church. May we be willing to do what Zophar should have done, and, instead of speaking for God, may we speak from God's heart and communicate His love with those who could really use a friend in their corner. Let us pray for those who are currently standing alone against a wall of opposition and facing an angry mob of people who are blocking the true lines of communication from getting through. "...that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:18, 19).
"Where is the wise? Where is the scribe?
Where is the disputer of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For since, in the wisdom of God,
the world through wisdom did not know God,
it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached
to save those who believe.
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified,
to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
(1 Corinthians 1:20-25)